Living Well



A few weekends ago we went to Portland unexpectedly. My dad had had a stroke, compounded with a variety of other health issues the doctors gave him 3 to 4 weeks to live. I hadn't seen my dad in over 25 years. My half-sister let me know of his condition and in just over 48 hours we had our travel plans booked. I knew it would be important to see my Dad if he was passing. Regardless of the what the past held, I knew our weekend together could be really positive. 

Prior to our trip to Portland, we had family in town for a long weekend. Prior to that, we had one weekend of downtime, then the weekend prior to that was Memorial Day weekend, and the week/weekend prior to that we were in Tennessee... it was something like that. There were about 7 weeks of travel plans, and holiday plans, and family plans, and unexpected plans. I'm not the go-go-go type of person, so I knew I would have to adjust and pivot where needed. My first business priority was the Member Library and each collection launched without a hitch. Certain things took a backseat and I was okay with that.

It wasn't too long ago that I would have really struggled with the idea of not doing everything I thought I needed to do, but life, family, and people, are more important than to-do lists, so I've learned to focus on the important stuff and allow for grace in other areas. Today, I want to provide a few easy and practical things you can do to make managing your business and traveling unexpectedly a bit easier. 


Sounds like a given, right? Unless you give yourself permission to let go, unplug, and know what you will and will not accomplish, you may set yourself up for failure. When we headed to Portland, we booked our flight late on a Friday night, so the following morning I sent emails letting people know what had happened and let them know I would be away. I also sent an email to anyone who was inquiring about photography services. I let them know of the situation and that I would not be able to address the email until a later date. In situations like this, I always let them know that I understand they may be under a deadline and that I completely understand if they have to move forward. I knew I was going to need to unplug. I knew I wouldn't be checking emails, and I knew I wouldn't be doing any work. 

I had a week and a half upon my return before the next collection was launching for the Stock Photo Member Library so I knew it could be easily prepped without any major schedule changes. I understood what could be done and what I couldn't be done.


I knew while I was traveling and during the weeks prior (with everything else we had going on) that I wouldn't have a lot of time for social media and curating blog posts and I was just okay with it. There were some weeks that I was able to post on Instagram, but I also knew that if I didn't it wasn't the end of the world. The same went for any blog posts that I had on my content calendar. The Stock Photo Member Library collections took priority so if I didn't have time to curate a new post (outside of the collections) I was okay with that. I have a variety of traffic driving posts that include opt-ins that are still very active. I knew that missing a few weeks was going to be okay.

Super easy things, right? I often think that our culture feels that need to always be busy, to always keep going, to always be doing things. There were definitly things that I knew I could accomplish and there were other things that I knew I could put on the back-burner. That's how life goes, right? There's a season for everything. xoxo. Samantha 



Are you on a budget? Is your business on a budget? One of the best things about starting a business now is that it can be as easy as starting a Facebook page, starting a blog, or even getting started with Squarespace. You can still make waves with your business even on a budget.

Are you with me? 

At the beginning of this year, I decided to get really organized, super organized. And while I would have liked to purchase a few items to get organized I wanted to find a way get organized and save money too. So I went on the hunt for some free printables. I found some really great stuff too and I'm excited to share them with you!

Are you a fan of Emily Ley or Cultivate? Me too. I went straight to some of my favorite brands and found their FREE resources. Best decision ever.

Emily Ley has 30 downloads to choose from! Some of my favorites include; 

  • Simplified Planner Weekly Pages - perfect for every day.
  • Monthly Planner - I love these for meal planning.
  • Perpetual Calendar - Perfect for setting quarterly goals. 
  • Braindump checklist - When you're overflowing with ideas. 
  • Spring cleaning checklist - I love that I don't have to even think about what needs to be done with this one. 
  • Gratitude List - Perfect for remembering everything you're grateful for. 

Hop over the Emily Ley sight, enter your email and download your favorites! 

Next download my favorite Cultivate What Matters printables

  • Action Items - I use these in tandem with my goals. 
  • Download list - Another great printable to get everything out of your head.

Getting organized is as easy as finding your favorite free printables. Where are some of your favorite places to get free printables? xoxo. Samantha



Let's take a poll. When you come back from the holidays or any vacation, do you hit the ground running? Or do you take it a little slow? Do you allow yourself to take a few deep breaths, get organized, and set a solid foundation? When I came back from our Christmas vacation I had a lot of organizing to do. I had set new goals for the year, I was ready to implement new systems, and I also had so many ideas and thoughts floating around in my head. I felt like my brain was going to explode. ;) 

I knew the best thing to do was to create a system that I could use over and over again when I returned from any vacation. This way I wouldn't be scrambling, or trying to think of all the things that needed to be done. I could simply pull out my checklist, go down the line and make sure everything was done. 

Have you ever felt this way? Scrambling after vacation, feeling like there are so many thoughts and notes, and things to do?


Download your free checklist to organize your business. PLUS, get 10+ FREE stock photos straight your inbox! 


Now that you've downloaded your business checklist, let's go through a few ways that you can get organized for the weeks and months ahead. Implementing quality systems will help you do business better and save you time. 


Once you've created your list, you are ready to start batching items together. Batching can drastically help you save time. Creating a batching system will also allow you to see how much time you spend on each item in your business. Items that you can batch together: 

  • Marketing - this can include scheduling social media, creating your newsletter, creating images for Pinterest, archiving old posts, and managing your content calendar. 
  • Photo Management - planning for a photo shoot or managing your stock photos is another area you can save time. 
  • Creating content - It's far easier to create content all at once then having it scattered over a variety of days. If you're like me and writing is a challenge, you know when these times are scheduled and you can prepare for them better. 


Now that you have your items batched together you can begin to block out time on your calendar. This is a perfect way to manage your time well and make sure you're not wasting time doing the same thing over and over again. You can set these blocks of time within your regular working office hours, that way your devoting business time on business and personal time on personal things. It's okay if you're not 100% sure how long to block out time for all the items you've batched together. Add your items to your calendar and over time you'll learn how long each item takes and you can adjust your calendar.

Organizing your business and implementing systems can take time and a little bit of work, but in the end, it will allow you to do business better. What are some of your favorite ways to organize your business? xoxo! Samantha



Have you ever set a goal you didn't reach? We've all been there, right? Well, last year I set a reading goal. I wanted to read a book a month, 12 books for the year. I picked out my first 4 books and thought I was on my way to reaching this goal.

At the end of 2017 I had read 5 books... That's a bit less then 12. 

You may be thinking that I missed my goal or failed, right? But here's the thing. That was 5 more books then the previous year. I had never read that many books in a single year before. And in the end I walked away with a passion for reading and learning.

I learned so much. So much more than in previous years. I was over the moon that I had read 5 books. It was the most books I had ever read in a year! I could have basically thrown myself a party! 

With the new year ahead, I decided to make 12 books my goal again. Until I hit that goal, 12 books is a good number to strive for. Don't you think? Are you ready to pick our your 12 books too? Here are my 12 books for 2018.  

Ready to pick out your 12 books and start your reading checklist? Download your worksheet below! Plus, receive 10+ FREE stock photos! 

  • The Way of the Seal by Mark Divine: I'm super excited about this. One of my overall goals for this year is discipline and I'm excited to see how this book plays out with that goal. 
  • Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull: We've had this one floating around our bookshelves for a few years. Tyler read it a couple years ago. Now it's my turn. 
  • Called to Create by Jordan Raynor: I think this is another Nancy Ray recommendation and I love the books tagline. "A Biblical Invitation to Create, Innovate, and Risk."  
  • A Simplified Life by Emily Ley: I keep hearing such good things about this book and I love keeping things simple in life and in business. 
  • Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown: This was on my list for 2017, but I didn't get to it. Excited for this year! 
  • Cultivate by Lara Casey: I'm a pretty big fan of anything Lara Casey. I'm looking forward to read this one after Make it Happen.

If you are on the fence about setting this goal in motion, I want to be an encouragement to you. Reading will do so much for your life and business. Reading is like being mentored by the author. You'll learn so much. You'll be stretched and you'll be poured into, so you can pour yourself out to others. Download your reading checklist (plus, your free photos above), pick out your favorite books, and share you're goal in the comments. I can't wait to hear what you picked! xoxo! Samantha  

P.S. Interested in what I read last year? Here's my list: